Werewolves, vampires, witches and ghosts. What is it about these supernatural creatures that incite such interest, passion and devotion?
Since our first fascination with Lon Chaney Jr.’s “The Wolfman” to this weeks announcement that the “Queen of Facebook”, as well as, all things supernatural, is writing a new novel about a werewolf called, “The Wolf Gift”, werewolves have piqued our interest.
The history of the werewolf can be traced back to Grecian times. A constant figure in folklore, the image of the man who has been cursed or has been bitten by another werewolf and changes into a lycanthrope when the moon is full takes the idea of the common shape-shifter and adds the ferocity and savagery of a wolf attack.
The fact that, in most novels and movies, the wolf cannot control himself and, often, forgets the events of the previous night, makes it easy to sympathize with the character and forgive him for whatever he has done.
Vampires, on the other hand, have, almost always, been portrayed as the romantic leading man despite the fact that they are, ultimately, killers.
Whether it’s the vampire boyfriend whose skin glistens like a diamond but poses no sexual threat or the sultry embrace of one of Anne Rice’s vampires, the sexual tension in most vampire stories is so thick it leaves the reader breathless.
Even the very act of being made a vampire … the sucking and tasting of another’s blood in your mouth, the draining of that blood to an, almost, orgasmic finish, as well as, the bond that comes from sharing blood, has more sexual innuendo then most porn could ever dream of.
Witches go back even further in history. Whether you call them “brujas” or “wiccan” or “voodoo priest”, each and every culture has their own form of witches and warlocks.
However, most commonly, witches have almost always been women and, therefore, feared and mistrusted by men who view a powerful woman as a natural threat.
Early on, the idea of a woman who could wield such power was, always, met with fear and suspicion leading to witch hunts and brutality, Later on, in an attempt at making the witch less of a threat, she was often portrayed as a sex goddess (as in the old movie classic “I Married a Witch”, with Veronica Lake) or the whacky, but non-lethal wife (see “Samantha” in “Bewitched”).
In “The Mayfair Witches”, Anne Rice has written a saga that portrays the witch as all things; good, bad, weak, strong, good natured and bad tempered. They are portrayed as male and female witches who don’t always appreciate the gifts or curse that come from being a witch and will, sometimes, attempt to hide their power and lineage. However, despite their dark and, sometimes, miserable history, and the different ways they are portrayed, we still find witches fascinating and mysterious.
The ghost is another supernatural creature that begs for our attention in many different ways. Whether it’s the good natured “Casper-the Friendly Ghost” of our youth or the sad wraiths who cannot find their way to the other world, as in “Poltergeist” or the evil spirits from “The Haunting” who will go to great lengths to hurt us, most people have been touched by this type of paranormal phenomenon.
The very idea of a life after this life, intrigues us and gives us hope. Regardless of religion, we are drawn to the idea of proof of ghosts as we are to proof of God. Almost, as if, the existence of one, will confirm the existence of the other. Either way, we will continue to watch and read about ghosts, till an answer is found.
Everyone has a favorite. Werewolves, witches, vampires or ghosts. We are suckers for their pain and pleasure. We live vicariously through their actions, good or bad, and justify our interest as a natural fascination with the unknown.
Whatever our reason, the genre is alive and well for all generations and as long as books about supernatural creatures are written, and movies made, we will continue to be fascinated and enthralled by their stories.
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